Agricultural charity RSABI and cooperative ANM Group has established a new Health Hut pilot project, which will launch at Aberdeen & Northern Marts’ Thainstone Centre on August 18th at the Spectacular Show and Sale.
Farmers and other attendees will have the opportunity to have their blood pressure checked. RSABI staff will be joined by Nurse Irene Scott, who will also listen confidentially to any other health concerns.
Ms Scott, who lives on a farm in Fife, has been working with RSABI at recent events to trial the best approaches to delivering support in rural communities. One of the challenges is the remoter locations, along with long working hours and a failure to prioritise their health. This means that farmers are normally slow to book appointments with health professionals.
Research by SRUC and Stirling University published in June found that farmers are likely to focus on looking after their livestock and the upkeep of their businesses. “Looking after themselves and their health comes second.”
It also highlighted the benefits of taking health and wellbeing support to places where farmers can be found, and the Health Hut pilot builds on an existing initiative delivered in two marts in Lancashire.
It’s part of a range of schemes being undertaken to encourage people in agriculture to look after their physical and mental health, including Mental Health First Aid training, a Thrive app being trialled with three young farmers clubs and the #KeepTalking campaign.
“Farm businesses can be very complex and, with long working hours and uncertain weather conditions, too often farmers and others working in agriculture can neglect their health and put off arranging medical checks,” said Carol McLaren, chief executive of RSABI.
“We hope the Health Hut pilot will be successful and can grow to be rolled out across the country, bringing health and wellbeing expertise to markets and other hubs in the farming community so busy farmers can access services like blood pressure, cholesterol and other checks. We are delighted to be working with the ANM Group to take this forward.”
Grant Rogerson, chief executive of ANM Group, said: “We are very pleased to be working with RSABI on this ground-breaking project for Scotland.
“Projects like this offer great support to individual farmers and with the Thainstone Centre being at the heart of the farming community in the North East and across Scotland, it is an ideal location for the Health Hut. We would encourage all members, customers and visitors to make the most of the Health Hut in the coming weeks and months.”
The Health Hut will be at Thanstone sales on the 18th of August, 22nd of September, 13th of October, the 27th and 28th of November, 5th of January and 28th of February
For more information go to www.rsabi.org.uk